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Poster: Jim F Date: May 20, 2011 11:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

That's exactly it, the post-95 years are most certainly relevant in my opinion. Too many people are too quick to discredit any Grateful Dead related music made by any member of the Grateful Dead at any point after 1995. It's almost like the "cool" thing to do, especially among the more veteran GD fans who saw concerts in whatever their heyday was.

I mean I don't always like a lot of the music, and I cannot think of much of it that can compare equally to my favorite GD shows from 1968, but I think people are too quick to hate on anything that happened after Jerry Garcia died. I mean Jerry Garcia was one musician, one great musician, who worked with a group of other musicians. They don't have to cease being musicians just because he died, and it doesn't mean they can't still perform good music.

Now I will also admit that it's VERY rare that I pull out some random Ratdog or The Dead show that I didn't attend over your average TDIH GD show from 1974 or something. I will often pull out recordings from modern-era concerts I've been to, especially as I'm a bit of a taper myself. But 9.99 times out of 10, I get much, MUCH more enjoyment out of almost any PLQ show in the 99-02 range than anything the GD did in their last couple of years. In fact, when it comes to Phil's groups (mostly the 99-02 era, I was utterly disappointed by the Jackie Greene era shows I saw), I am in that camp that feels that there are plenty of those exceptions where the music was actually BETTER than some GD music.

Same with Ratdog. I personally find just about any Weir solo effort from the 70's and 80's to be pretty lame (though I should not that I watched the "I Wanna Live In America" video the other day). But I saw Ratdog do some pretty cool shit in the early 2000's. My first exposure to Ratdog was the 3 piece I think it was, 96 or 97, and I wasn't that thrilled with them. But when I finally got around to seeing them on the first date of the "Evening Moods" tour in early 2001, and a few more times over the next couple of years, I thought they had improved by leaps and bounds. They were no Mickey and the Hartbeats, but I'd still rather listen to an inspired Ratdog show from the 2000's than the Grateful Dead in 1994.

Anyway, that is a good point that was made about there being such a constant change in lineups and bands over the years. That most definitely changes the whole idea of there being any continuity regarding the development and evolution of a song, in this case, Playing in the Band. The way I look at it is, at this point, it's not so much about one particular band evolving a song, it's more about many bands evolving the reportoire as a whole. We are at a point in time where these songs are still being performed and in a way developed by the people who actually wrote them. In another 15 years, this whole argument will be irrelevant, as the only people playing this music will be cover bands. I just hate to think that any of the music Phil Lesh or Bill Kreutzmann or Bob Weir made after Jerry Garcia died won't be considered valid.

It's certainly not the same argument to discuss the post-95 bands in relation to one-member changes within the actual Grateful Dead over the years, but there is a parallel in what was said about the band post-Pig or post-Brent, etc. I'll admit that I'm never going to be convinced that there was ever a Bobby Good Lovin or Lovelight that can hold a candle to a Pigpen version. So I can see how people can feel that anything played after Garcia died can't compare. But on another level, the band still played some pretty damn good music after Pig died, or Keith, Hell even after Brent died.

I dunno, I'm just rambling. I guess perspective is what it's all about, on many levels. As it is, I'm mainly talking here about listening back to recordings of live performances, not the actual experience of being a part of those performances. Discussing the "X-Factor" and all of that is just too subjective, both in terms of people's individual tastes, as well as things like the difference between the best version of such and such you SAW LIVE, and the best you've ever HEARD.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: May 21, 2011 12:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

Thanks for a really nice post. I have two main responses, which are actually somewhat contradictory!

One is that a lot of people have made a distinction between the shows as an in-the-moment experience, and the tapes as a document of that. This goes back a long way, and there have always been some Heads who say that the quality and experience of a show is a totally different thing than what can be heard on the tapes - some great shows have lousy tapes, and sometimes the tapes sound good even if the "vibe" wasn't there during the performance. There's an aesthetic perspective on improvised music which claims that it has to be experienced in real-time, that the moment of spontaneous creation is where the music lives and the recordings are just a "fossil" rather than the living, breathing thing.

The opposing reaction I have is what I mentioned before, that history has to sort it out. We are still part of the unfolding process, with too much emotional connection to events. A lot of people's lives were and are lived at shows and traveling to them, as reading a lot of "show reviews" which are actually "life anecdotes" demonstrates.

Some non-fans of anything the GD did think the music doesn't have lasting value and will be forgotten once touring and show culture passes out of living memory. I'm in the opposite camp, I think the GD and its members have earned a place in the musical pantheon alongside the 19th century Germans while most late 20th century popular music will be forgotten.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: May 21, 2011 9:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

One issue is the sheer volume of music... To get up to speed with all these bands, it's not like there's a few "albums" you can listen to, like with most, there's years' worth of many very long shows. Yes, it would be nice if there were more reviews/guides/discussions of the post-Dead bands...heck, even Garcia band shows are mainly unmapped territory for many of us! But I barely have time to cope with the full range of Dead shows, let alone their offshoots...

I agree that the Dead's music will be more highly regarded as time goes on. And while the experience of being at a Dead show was very important - it will, of course, fade away in importance as time goes on, showgoers get older, and more young people get into the Dead's music who never lived through the "culture" of the Dead. Already, the '60s band is more of a historic relic than a memory for most people. In time, the tapes will be all that's left, and they'll be judged on the the music alone, not the experience...
I wonder what internet discussions of the Dead will read like in 2050.....assuming anybody's posting on the 'internet' then....